Twelve billion dollars have been set aside by the World Bank to provide immediate support to low income countries affected by COVID-19. Over 60 countries are already dealing with the health and economic impact of the coronavirus. World Bank president David Malpass himself emphasized the importance of institutions to work with a sense of urgency as speed is necessary to save lives.
Eight billion dollars came from new funds while the remaining $4 billion of the support was relocated from existing programs. The allocation will aid in strengthening the health systems of developing nations as well as in detecting the movement of the coronavirus within a country’s borders.
Global companies are responding to the growing concern on the coronavirus by limiting regular meetings, events, and travels. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), sister lending organization to the World Bank, announced that they will turn their annual Washington meeting into a “visual format.” It is both the IMF and the World Bank’s decision to utilize their technological facilities when working with member countries instead of meeting face to face.
Adobe also followed suit when their eponymous summit scheduled for Mar. 29 to Apr. 2 in Las Vegas will instead be an “online experience” for more than 20,000 individuals who were expected to attend the conference. Google is also holding digital events, canceling their annual developers conference, Google I/O. The company also halted international travel for employees.
Meanwhile, NBC, despite having to bypass ad-driven profits, noted that they won’t suffer losses if the Olympics were to be canceled. But due to the temporary closure of Universal Studios Japan, an additional seven to nine percent will hurt their profit during the first quarter. NBC also halted the construction of Universal Studios Beijing but said that they’re still set on their initial plan of opening in May 2021.
Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are tightening their travel guidance by requiring executive approval for air travel. Only the most essential travels will be permitted, but such exceptions must not pose any form of health risk. On the other hand, Twitter didn’t impose an outright travel ban but instead carried out stricter measures.
Following Philippine Airlines’ (PAL) decision to lay off 300 workers in an attempt to increase revenue and reduce losses caused by the imposition of travel bans across many countries, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines estimated that 7,000 workers are bound to lose their jobs due to the outbreak. The Department of Labor admits that workers in the tourism industry face the threat of unemployment.
PAL’s retrenchment scheme and travel bans in general can cause their supply chain of restaurants, hotels, catering, and other service providers to do just the same. The more travel bans there are, the more chances that institutions such as PAL will have to cut off from its supply chain. This will then leave suppliers with no choice but to lay off workers, or worse, terminate the business.
Even Honda Cars’ manufacturing plant is closing, leaving 400 workers with 280 percent monthly salary for every year of service as a separation package but still without a job. Wells Fargo is relocating most of its jobs to India while Nokia is shutting down their research and development facility in Manila.
With the number of outbreaks continuously (if not exponentially) increasing, businesses have to work their way around the impact of the coronavirus in their daily operations. On a larger scale, the global economy has to direct its attention to the damage done on healthcare systems and financial resources all over the world. If the epidemic doesn’t decline anytime soon, if not completely eliminated, will business be done purely on digital platforms from this point on?